Coca-Cola Springs for Teens in Interactive Campaign

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Coca-Cola is in the midst of an interactive marketing campaign in Florida during spring break targeting teenagers interested in downloading music files.


"Instant Winner" pin numbers are printed under the caps of three million 20-ounce bottles of Coca-Cola Classic, inviting consumers to win a free 20-ounce bottle of Classic Coke or visit www.enjoythesounds.com to download music files from up-and-coming artists. The promotion runs from March 21 through June 30.


The 17- to 19-year-olds targeted by the campaign are also encouraged to download the Coca-Cola Vflash Messenger (from ValueFlash.com), which streams news, such as the featured artists' concert dates and CD release dates, to users' desktops. A small icon of the messenger flashes when there is a new message, and emits the sound of a Coca-Cola bottle opening when the Vflash Messenger is opened.


"We're using it as a way to continually stream information from Coca-Cola, but we didn't want to keep saying 'Buy Coke'," said Donna Hamilton, director of product development and design at The Affinity Group, St. Petersburg, FL, which designed and is running the Enjoy The Sounds campaign.


Coca-Cola executives chose the program because the company wants to boost its teen market (hence the signing of pop star Christina Aguilera) and are focusing on Florida as one of many regional promotions, Hamilton said.


However, Coca-Cola did not want to feature mainstream music that could be downloaded from a number of Web sites. Instead, The Affinity Group sought out independent artists that are well-known regionally and looking to make it nationally. Hamilton cited Deep Blue Something, which had hits a few years ago and is trying to get back into the mainstream. "Eighteen to 19-year-olds are the primary listening audience of these up-and-coming people," Hamilton said. The majority of the current 50 downloadable files are alternative rock selections, but some country, jazz and R&B songs are also offered. Affinity will add more music files over the course of the promotion.


Coca-Cola is also working with a back-end music provider to sell the artists' CDs, DVDs and videos through enjoythesounds.com. Representatives of the music provider (which Hamilton declined to name) are handing out credit card-size cards with the URL and description of the promo to teens on Florida beaches. The card offers $5 off CD, DVD and video purchases when consumers buy two or more items. The retail prices are already 50 percent less than prices offered by other sites, Hamilton added.


Only instant winners can download music files (only one file per pin number included under the cap), but anyone can download the Coca-Cola Vflash instant messenger and enter Coke's sweepstake to win a Sony sound system. Users can also store text messages, such as concert dates, on the messenger.


Although the downloadable music files component sounds like a service from Napster or another music downloading/swapping site, Hamilton said the promotion is simply an extension of other music-oriented Coca-Cola campaigns. "We've done music promotions before...we wanted to provide something unique, in a format that they [teens] were used to using," Hamilton said.


In addition, the songs can only be downloaded and played on the Coca-Cola player, developed by CDKnet, LLC, New York. "We don't want to have a problem with reproductions, or go through the Napster [problems]," Hamilton said.


Hamilton says Coca-Cola is acting as a talent scout for the relatively unknown artists, providing links to some bands' Web sites, biographies of the bands and recommendations of certain independent music sites. At the end of the promotion, Affinity will let record companies know which songs were downloaded most.


In addition, information gathered will help Coca-Cola develop future promotions for teens. "We've got a real good opportunity to get a feel for what young adults are interested in," Hamilton said, adding that the Vflash Messenger could be utilized in future promotions.


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